I spilled coffee on my shirt…(not have spilled)

Dear readers, a member asked how to say “Derramei café na minha camisa,” in English. If you just now spilled coffee on your shirt, then you would say I spilled coffee on my shirt(because it is happening at one point in time, not over an extended period of time).


I have spilled coffee on my shirt many times.
I have spilled coffee on my shirt before.

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I hope you like it!

Mary Ziller from USA


Mary Ziller

I'm Mary Ziller. I tutor ESL at the IHM Lteracy Center in Philadelphia. I lived a year in Brazil where I became certified to teach English as a Foreign language.

5 comentários

  • 20/03/08  
    Itamar diz: 1

    Dear Mary,

    I have a english grammar book written by Raymond Murphy and it says that we often use the present perfect to give new informatoin or to announce a recent happening. For example: Ow! I’ve cut my finger.

    My question is why do I can say “I’ve cut my finger” and I can’t say “I’ve spilled coffe on my shirt”. Are they diferent situations?

    Thanks a lot

  • 22/03/08  
    Valmir diz: 2

    Hy Itamar,
    How’re you doing?
    Well, I’ve seeing that you wrote ” I have a english grammar book”
    In my humble opinion the write is “I have an english grammar book” do you agree with me?

  • 23/03/08  
    Itamar diz: 3

    Hi Valmir,

    I totally agree !!!! I saw this mistake but I had already posted it.

    You wrote “I’ve seeing…”. In my opinion the correct grammar is “I’ve seen…” Do you agree with me?

  • 24/03/08  
    Mary diz: 4

    Hi Itamar,

    The Grammar is not wrong, but it is referring to British English.

  • 11/08/09  
    João Ghizoni diz: 5

    I know this post was put here long ago, but even so I’ll try to ask something about it. I find it strange that the author says we don’t say “I’ve spilled (coffee on my shirt)” because the action happened “at one point in time, not over an extended period”. I think this explanation should be reviewed, since we DO say “I’ve lost my keys” though the action DID happen “at a specific point in time and not over an expanded period”. The fact in both cases is the CONSEQUENCE OF THAT FACT AT THE PRESENT MOMENT.